Slice of Life: Our Own Little Hollywood

(This is part of Slice of Life, a regular writing activity facilitated by Two Writing Teachers. We find small moments to write about. You come write, too, OK?)

Making Robbers on Loose 2 collage

Our video production budget would make the penny pinching budget dudes in Hollywood very proud: seven cups of hot chocolate and a overflowing plate of nachos as pay for the acting team. The creative energy that is going into the filming of my son’s second feature film? Priceless.

As the script for Robbers on the Loose 2 (a sequel to his last film, shot three years ago and featured at a local film festival) took shape in the past few weeks — written with friends, with advice from his parents and brothers — the excitement of shooting a movie took hold. Organizing the schedules of nearly 10 kids (all nine and ten years old) has been difficult, and we have about one-third more of the movie to shoot.

Making Robbers on the Loose Day2 Collage

I won’t give away the story. Let’s just say, someone is on the loose. But in the script that they wrote on their own, I noticed references to the first movie, foreshadowing for something to be stolen, the use of frames within frames (done in the editing process), and the boys’ obsessions with Nerf guns (only one girl is in the acting team, as the police officer. She’s the best actor of the bunch.)

As an independent media activity, making a movie is interesting and complicated, as my 10-year-old son is finding out. He has his crew rehearsing their lines, making adaptations to the script, adjusting his vision to the reality of what is available to us, and more.

I am merely the camera operator, adding in some advice when I think it will help. (I am also taking still photos of the filming, which is where these collages came from). Seeing my son and his friends pouring over the footage of the day is such a nice sight to behold, as they laugh at the retakes, and critique their own performances.

What more could you ask for?

Peace (on the loose),
Kevin

Diving Into Tumblr: Some ‘Splaining to Do

comic tumblr
So, it’s not that I don’t know what Tumblr is. It’s just that I never had any real reason to create a Tumblr blog site. But this weekend (Thanks, Greg!), I took the plunge and began a site called Got Some ‘Splaining to Do where I will share out comic-style tutorials for apps and technology that I use. I won’t guarantee that it will be all that regular, but as I work within Walk My World and YouShow projects, I figure it can be a resource/portfolio of some of my work.

Check out Got Some ‘Splaining to Do

You will see this as a recent post, as I share out using the free Make Beliefs Comix app on the iPad. It’s nifty, free (I said that, right?) and fun, with some limits.

Making A Make Beliefs Comic

See you on the web!

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

Using MapStack: Water and Parks as Art

Mapping Water and Parks in Northampton
The other day, I wrote a review about The Best American Infographics of 2014, and noted the reference to a free data mapping tool called MapStack. I gave it a try and it was interesting. The image above is a map of where I live, with waterways and parks referenced in a watercolor overlay. It looks very artistic, doesn’t it?

Want to make your own? Here is a quick tutorial video, but I just went in and played around to make mine. I wish there were more data points to use, but I still found the site intriguing as a map representation of a geographic area.

Map Stack Tutorial from Stamen on Vimeo.

Peace (in the map),
Kevin

Showing the Work of Showing Your Work

Show Yer Work #walkmyworld
The other day, Terry left a comment here about the need for more of us to show our work when creating digital compositions. It not only provides reflection points but creates a path forward for others to also make things and learn from others.

That led me to create the comic there (I guess Terry is the giraffe), using an interesting view tool in Firefox that allows you to access a 3D version of a website, and then twist and turn it.

In the interest of showing your work, here is how to use Firefox (I think it only works with Firefox browser) to explore the architecture of a site and its connections beyond.

First, with Firefox open on a site, right-click mouse on your screen. Select “Inspect Element.”
Explore Web Architecture1

Second, there is a little 3D box in the lower corner of the screen. Click that to access 3D view mode.
Explore Web Architecture2

Now, use your mouse or cursor and drag the screen. The perspective will shift and spin, giving you a view of links and media, and even a true behind-the-scenes views of a website.
Explore Web Architecture3

Have fun!

Peace (in the share),
Kevin

A Fake Comic Tutorial on Using a Real Comic App

I posted this comic yesterday to the Walk My World twitter stream because a series of tweets had me laughing.

Bring the Dog #walkmyworld

Greg, over at Walk My World, then asked if I might create a tutorial on the comic strip app that I use quite a bit these days — Comics Head. Sure, I thought, and then realized it could be a bit subversive, too. So the tutorial is a comic making fun of making a tutorial of the making of a comic.

Using Comics Head app

Head spinning? Yeah.

Then, in the spirit of the YouShow15 project and its emphasis on the Director’s Cut of making media, I used the audio feature in the app (which is a cool new function) to create a fake “Director’s Cut” of the making of the comic … I won’t do the whole recursive thing again.

Peace (in the share),
Kevin

Walking Through the World

This is another teaser for the Walk My World project. I just had to use Marc Cohn’s song, and tapped into Mozilla’s Popcorn Video Maker to create a video with animated gifs.

Check out Walk Through the World


And I am adding some “Director’s Notes” as a sort of cross-reference to the YouShow project now underway:

I have long loved Marc Cohn as a songwriter, and this particular song from an early album has resonated with me over the years. It seems like a perfect fit for the theme of Walk My World, although he is writing more about a relationship than about media literacy. Still …. I first wanted to make a Zeega, but then could not find the song in Soundcloud. So, I went with Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker. I found the song in YouTube and layered it down, turning off the video and keeping only the audio. Then, I searched for “walking” in the Popcorn search engine, using the Giffy site as my main focus. I wanted it to be Zeega-like. I listened to the lyrics, adding in non-walking pieces where it seemed to fit (I loved the gif of the girl on her bed, reading, kicking her legs back and forth). I only used a verse and chorus (and wish Popcorn had a fade music button). I like how it came out.

Plus, here is a visual tutorial I made on using Popcorn Maker:
Using Popcorn Maker

Now, go make yer own! Or remix mine!
Peace (in the world you walk),
Kevin

Are You Ready to Walk My World?

Just walking

Last year, I saw some friends of mine — Ian and Greg — launching a project called Walk My World. They were dipping into ways that new literacies could be used in connected ways, with connections to ongoing exploration and research they are doing on literacy, and so I hopped on board. It was a very low stress, low barrier endeavor, with some classes of university students and other outliers (like me) joining in for media creation activities.

You can see what I did last year via this Storify that I had made.

Well, Ian and Greg around walking the world again, and as it was last year, you are invited. Find out more as they do a “slow launch” this week of Walk My World and see what unfolds in the weeks ahead.

Walk my World

I made these comics to help get the word out. Interested? Check out the Walk My World overview at Ian’s blog. Or go to the main Walk My World page, where prompts will be provided and resources shared.

Peace (in the walk),
Kevin

 

Gathering Resources on PARCC (via Diigo Outliner)

Parcc Outline in Diigo
I am working with a team as consultants to an urban STEM middle school, where PARCC is on the horizon and administrators and teachers are starting to get nervous. ┬áThey work in a large school district, where data and test numbers matter in what one could only say is out of proportion to the work being done by these teachers. I don’t blame them for getting nervous about PARCC. There are shifts coming and the sense in the school is that students are not quite ready for the expectations of the writing. Maybe not the teachers, either.

So, as much to help them as to help me and my colleagues (PARCC is coming for us, too, but not this year) think about this testing, I tinkered around with a new tool in Diigo called Outliner, which allows you to outline bookmarks with notes. It seemed to work pretty well for me.

See what you think, and feel free to use any of the resources. Notice my first two resources and also my last category .. keeping teaching and learning in perspective as best as we can, you know?

Check out my PARCC Outliner Resource

Peace (yep, PARCC),
Kevin